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Normal risk V's stupidity

(28 Posts)
youarekidding Wed 01-Jun-11 10:30:25

I would consider myself a fairly laid back person but certain situations have made me question whats normal risk and what is just plain stupidity.

For example I insist DS (6) sits in a booster in car, sat back with seat belt.

I know people who let DCs sit with no booster, sit without seat belt through shouldrer strap of backed seat with their arm over the seat belt and sit forwards to talk to driver, sit in booster with lap belt when only person in back. One family takes their children on a boat with no life jackets and were really shocked when I bought DS one to wear.

The argument from many is that you can't avaoid a car accident or a boat sinking.

Yet these same people give me the hmm look when I let DS out to play in park (with about 20 other DCs aged 4-15) which I can see from 3 rooms in my house. Let DS jump in puddles/ mud when in woods, run towards sea and padddle at the beach, hang upside down in the park, go on half pipe at park on his bike and skateboard. Apparently all of which he can get dirty doing or are dangerous. And are unavoidable/ unescessary risks.

Please don't flame me I'm not being judgemental just really interested in what others deem as 'normal childhood risks' for learning and stupidity and unessecary risk.

If it helps the answers will make me re evaluate what I allow/do if needed.

TIA

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Jun-11 10:34:20

I'm with you on all of those. smile

5318008 Wed 01-Jun-11 10:35:35

yy the letting them get DUUUUUUURTY is what I get the biggest hmm for

youarekidding Wed 01-Jun-11 10:46:25

Yes I always take spare clothes out. Met a friend of DS and his mum once for walk in woods. I said I take spare clothes. She did but then wouldn't let her DS get dirty as there was no-where suitable to clean his skin. My invitation of using my baby wipes (my godsend!) was met with hmm

We left with her DS sat in middle of her car sat forwards to talk to us whilst my DS was sat in his (I took it) booster strapped in and pretty much in silence.

All I kept thinking is dirt won't kill but the car journey might. confused

IgnoringTheChildren Wed 01-Jun-11 10:49:38

Some people are very odd! You might not be able to avoid a car or boat accident - surely that's why you try to minimise the risks by using the correct safety equipment!

I don't think that allowing your DS to explore his environment, have a bit of "freedom", play on his bike or skateboard are unnecessary risks - they're all essential in ensuring he grows up a well-rounded individual!

As for the whole getting dirty thing angry - what horrors to they think will occur if their DC get a bit of mud on them?!?!?

GeekCool Wed 01-Jun-11 10:52:01

The seatbelt one resonates with me. I remember being a very drunk 18 year old getting a taxi home with friends. I sat in the front and always put the belt under my arm. I got a right rollicking from the driver who asked if I would prefer whiplash or a punctured lung in a crash. I've no idea if what he said was right but it worked on me! Ds is still in a high backed booster with 5 point belt so don't have to worry about that yet.
YANBU

bubblecoral Wed 01-Jun-11 10:53:57

I'm with you on those. My 10 year old still uses a booster seat, but he is short for his age. Think I might have to relent when he starts secondary school in September though.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 01-Jun-11 10:54:58

People who let their small DC sit in cars with no boosters are breaking the law. Boosters are necessary for a child's safety and any parent should want to minimize risk in the event of an accident.

Personally, I wouldn't let my 6 year old play in the park without me or DH being there, but I'm with you on the jumping in puddles/getting muddy thing. Kids like getting dirty and no harm will come of it. I only try to stop mine from getting muddy if we are on our way out to lunch or going somewhere where it is better to at least start off clean (like someone's wedding)

overmydeadbody Wed 01-Jun-11 11:04:01

Nothing wrong with getting dirty or exploring your environment, but booster seats and seat belts? YANBU.

It's easy to get complacant though, with things like life jackets if you're always going out on boats. I now I am guilty of similar with climbing. I never take DS's climbing helmet anymore when we go climbing, but I know I should really, and will regret it if a rock does fall on his unprotected head. I guess I do a risk assesment of the likelihood of a serious injury. I make his wear a cycling helmet because there is a far greater chance of him falling off his bike, relative to the very small risk of a big rock falling on his head.

Booster seats and seatbelts though, well they are non-negotiable.

millie30 Wed 01-Jun-11 11:08:04

I had a friend who seemed to almost deliberately take risks with her children's safety, and it caused arguments with her because she took me refusing to do the same with my DS as a sign that I was insulting her parenting. And she would constantly criticise me as over protective. Examples included letting her 2 year old run off and into busy roads, saying "he's got to learn," leaving her baby unattended in his buggy whilst she wondered off at different venues, or into shops with him outside, leaving her baby sleeping on the sofa whilst she went to the shop round the corner, letting her just toddling one year old make his own way down the very steep stairs when he woke up from his nap and no stair gate because she didn't want to have to go up to him when he woke up, and many more.

She seemed to be missing the part of her brain that assesses risk and makes you want to protect your DCs. I would end up caring for her children, stopping them having accidents etc because I just couldn't be how she was and switch off. We ended up having a massive fall out and haven't spoken for nearly 2 years. In some ways it's a shame but I found her so difficult to be around that I couldn't relax and it was really stressful. I understand that all parents have different ideas about letting children have freedom and supervision, but she was just stupid and reckless.

dreamofwhitehorses Wed 01-Jun-11 11:08:09

Don't get the dirty thing at all. I thought it was accepted now it was good for their immune system.
I remember dragging my son out for a run in the rain over the moors a while ago. He was having a right old complain grin so I suggested he could make it more fun by going through all the puddles. He obviously took this as an opportunity for revenge ... I have never seen so much mud. It was pooling at his feet as he stripped off in the kitchen... He did have fun tho.

overmydeadbody Wed 01-Jun-11 11:16:12

tha sounds good dreamofwhiteorses! I bet he absolutely loved it!

lesley33 Wed 01-Jun-11 11:22:43

I totally totally agree with you OP.

Freakonomics uses data though to show that booster seats aren't necessary to prevent major injury. What they prevent is more minor injury. So I wouldn't think it was stupid to not always do thst.

But seatbelts and life jackets should always be used.

greencolorpack Wed 01-Jun-11 11:30:57

I get annoyed seeing dads or mums out cycling without helmets while saying to their children they should wear helmets. Their excuse is usually "But the helmet looks so stupid and is messing with my hair!" I know cycling pressure groups say they have a right not to wear helmets, because "wearing helmets makes the public think that there's something dangerous about cycling and puts people off cycling!" I can't think of a more arsebackwards argument.

Parents should wear helmets, parents should say "I don't care if you look stupid, try braindamage and see if that ruins your street cred!"

I just think of programmes about brain damage and rehabilitation and how long it takes and how sometimes people are never the same again. Did anyone see the David Tennant drama about this, the guy who walks out into the street for a taxi between parked cars and gets run down and is never the same again because of brain damage? Things like that make me think helmets for cyclists should be compulsory.

youarekidding Wed 01-Jun-11 11:32:30

Thankyou all. I was beginning to think I was being protective re cars/ boats etc.

millie what you said about feeling like others are judging is exactly how I felt. As if they were judging me for being too careful and boring about car journies, yet somehow encouring DS to be reckless.

karma I completely understand why you wouldn't let your 6yo go to the park alone. I have to admit I'm still not comfortable with it, I do the ironing at the window so I can watch DS, but most of the dc's on my quiet estate go so felt a little mean stopping DS because of my own worries. I have to say it is a worry more so as DS has allergies and epi-pen - but wears a medic alert bracelet and older dc's know what to do if they are worried- as does DS.

So I do things/ allow DS to do things I think could have risk but car seats is just one area I feel isn't a compromise - apart from the fact it's the law. grin

kirsty75005 Wed 01-Jun-11 13:45:34

@greencolorpack I'm with you on parents with children should wear helmets. But I'm a keen everyday cyclist (it's my main means of getting about) and I've spent a lot of time analysing health and safety statistics for cyclists. Town cycling is statistically no more dangerous than town driving, and slightly less likely to result in brain damage (fatal accidents involving cyclists are generally due to organ crushing, not head injuries) so it doesn't seem really justified to insist on helmets for cyclists and not for car drivers given that the risks are the same.
To the OP : I'll have my children in booster seats but wouldn't judge some who doesn't because again, statistically, children are by far and away the age group least concerned by car accidents - the overwhelming risk factor for car accidents is driver recklessness of one form or another and parents with children are very careful drivers in general. Statistically, the extra safety you get by having a booster seat, rather than just a seatbelt for a child is a small decrease to the already very small risk run by a child wearing a seatbelt in a car with a careful driver.

greencolorpack Wed 01-Jun-11 13:52:01

Hi Kirsty, well I guess I'm more of a better safe than sorry kind of person. In a car, you have the protection of the door pillars and roof in the event of a crash, but you've got nothing but thin air if you come off your bike. I also think it's no hardship wearing the helmet, if you've never known anything else it's no great hardship.

yoshiLunk Wed 01-Jun-11 14:02:49

OP i am also with you on everything apart from the being at the park alone. Not that I would judge, mind you.

I wouldn't be there holding his hand though, I would probably be sat on a blanket watching carefully while pretending I wasn't there reading a book.

kirsty75005 Wed 01-Jun-11 14:15:03

@greencolorpack. Hi, please don't get my wrong : I'm not at all criticising your decision to wear a helmet : I wear one myself ! I just don't think that the statistics can justify making it compulsory, although I agree it's sensible. I think that for safety equipement to be compulsory for an activity it should be demostrably dangerous, and town cycling (sports cycling is another kettle of fisk) doesn't meet that criterion.
Whilst it's true that car drivers are more protected, it's also true that for a variety of reasons car-on-car crashes are typically faster than car-on-cycle ones. And when you take into account reaction times and the quadratic law for destructive energy, a moderate increase in speed can multiply the destructive energy released in a crash several times over - which is why fatality rates for cyclists are much lower than most people imagine.

youarekidding Wed 01-Jun-11 15:05:59

yoshi I actually judge myself re the park grin. I stopped DS going for ages without me (allergies and age) but as most of the dc's here go I felt somehow I was risking his social development iyswim? Its not one of my decisions I'm totally at ease with and only let him when I can watch from the house - which tbh is 15 meters further away from my blanket watching. grin

I can totally understand why people wouldn't do it. In fact in an bit DS and I are going to another park with friend and her 2 DDs (700m from her house). I won't let my DS go with her DSD (12) and her DD (7) as I don't feel it safe. But she lets her DD go and thinks its wierd I won't let my DS but allow him to go to mine alone which she won't let her DD. She is one of those who is totally lax about seatbelts and car seats.

Its actually refreshing to see how many parents wouldn't let their DC's go alone to play at 6yo. Makes me feel better about the fact I limit my DS 'unsupervised' outdoor play.

greencolorpack Wed 01-Jun-11 17:47:50

Fair enough Kirsty.

I think a lot of fatalities round about where I live are caused by cyclists ducking and diving, being thrillseeking young men, thinking "I can do this - oh no wait -"crash, bang. Well that's what I say to myself to stop myself being so afraid of cycling that I stop!

cookcleanerchaufferetc Wed 01-Jun-11 17:53:18

Yes, I agree with all the op says except going to the park, which is bizarre. When there are so many kids there is probably even more chance of something happening as a kid might think someone else is watching the six year old when actually he has got lost/walked off/taken. That IMO is a stupid risk.

Henrythehappyhelicopter Wed 01-Jun-11 17:57:47

Easy to wear a seat belt use a booster seat, everything to gain in reducing chances of injury, nothing to lose. Cannot understand why anyone wouldn't.

I personally wouldn't allow a 6 year old to go without an adult to the park, I am on the more cautious end of the scale.

As for getting dirty, cannot see a problem, but my DS hates it.

youarekidding Wed 01-Jun-11 18:18:52

I accept the park may be an unescessary risk - as I said its not something I'm 100% comfortable with but as I can see and watch DS at all times from the house compromised - especially as it got hard watching DS watching his friends playing out from the window.

What age would you say is OK to let your child do this - baring in mind what I said at the begginning about re evaluating the risks I take.

ChippingIn Wed 01-Jun-11 18:29:20

youarekidding - everyone makes a judgement on 'going to the park alone' on their street, their park, their kids, their neighbourhood etc - given what you have told us, I think you are doing the right thing smile

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